Published in 1993, Lois Lowry’s The Giver has been hailed as the quintessential piece of dystopian children’s literature, winning the Newbery Medal in 1994. (Lowry is one of only a few people to have ever won this prestigious award twice!) I’m guessing that because it was published during the craziness of my own senior year in high school, I somehow missed reading it as a young adult. A friend of mine who is just a few years younger than me had been saying for a long, long time that it was among her favorite books, and on her recommendation, I finally got around to reading it earlier this year. My thirteen-year-old son and I started reading it aloud together, but he got impatient with our limited time to read together and ended up finishing it himself. In his words, “I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened!”
Immediately after he finished the book, he began pushing me to get going on my reading, because he was desperate to have someone to talk to about the story. I have to admit that at the end of the book, I needed a little bit of time to collect my thoughts before discussing it with him, because I was left feeling so empty and sad. The ambiguity of the novel’s ending brought out my pessimistic side, but my son had a quite different take on what would have followed the ending. We had an interesting discussion about the community elders’ view of a perfect society, and how the line between the concepts of utopia and dystopia could be so fuzzy. The depth of this novel makes it perfect for adolescents, as their development at that time includes a greater ability for abstract thought and moral reasoning.
It wasn’t until after we got started reading it that I found out it was being made into a movie. What timing! The Giver, the film, will be released on August 15. Anticipation is building for this film adaptation, and as a beloved piece of children’s literature, the novel has set the bar high for reception of the film.
Want a sneak peek? Check out the trailer:
I can already see some differences in the movie from the novel in the trailer alone, so I’m trying to prep myself with this idea so I’m not left too frustrated upon viewing the film. My hope is that the essence of the story remains the same, even if the protagonist’s age and experiences are altered, slightly or significantly.
Character posters and some stills of the film have been released, too, and I can feel the depth of these characters just looking at the pictures!
Do you plan to see The Giver in the theaters in August? My son and I will be there, with high hopes!
Check out the film’s sites: